Titanic Memorial West Bank of Washington Channel, 4th Street SW (Near Fort McNair) 37th Annual Tribute Wednesday, April 15th, 2015, 12:30 a.m.
Washington, DC—This time of year people flock to Washington, DC to witness the cherry blossoms and see the famous monuments and memorials honoring the greats like Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln, just to name a few. But few know that there are dozens of obscure memorials all over this city forgotten about by tourists and residents alike. One of the most breathtaking hidden memorials is a partially clad thirteen-foot granite figure standing with arms outstretched over the Washington Channel in southwest, Washington D.C.
First Lady Helen Herron Taft first unveiled the Titanic Memorial in 1931. The memorial was originally located in Rock Creek Park along the Potomac River, but was moved to it’s current location on 4th and P Streets, SW without a ceremony in order to accommodate the Kennedy Center in 1966. In its new location, the beautiful memorial was long forgotten by all except by a small group of dedicated DC men.
Thirteen years after the Titanic Memorial was relocated, a television show that explored unknown memorials and monuments in Washington, D.C., called “Washington Odyssey,” featured the lost statue. Television producer Jimmie Silman was mesmerized by the stunning memorial and felt compelled to recruit his colleagues to honor the hidden gem.
On April 15, 1979, the Men’s Titanic Society was born. Silman, Max Schindler, Don Elder, and Danny O’Brian picked daffodils at NBC, and made there way to the memorial with champagne in hand. They said a few words and laid the daffodils at the base of the memorial, which is engraved with the words: “To the brave who perished in the wreck of the Titanic April 15, 1912. They gave their lives that women and children might be saved.”
During the next few decades, word spread about the gathering and the Men’s Titanic Society evolved into the current group of men dedicated remembering the brave sacrifice men aboard the Titanic made 103 years ago. This year marks the 37th annual tribute by the society on the anniversary of the tragic accident. The Men’s Titanic Society will meet once again at 12:30 a.m. for a black-tie ceremony to toast one of the greatest acts of chivalry in history.
The ceremony now consists of a recreation of the first-class dining menu from the Titanic’s last night afloat prior to a trip to the monument. A bus brings the men to the beautiful Titanic memorial statue where the men line-up and lay a wreath of red carnations. Three bells will sound to commence the ceremony and each member toasts bravery with champagne. Each toast ends with, “To those brave men,” followed by a collective “Hear! Hear!”
This group of dedicated men helps more and more people discover the grandeur of the monument every year and keep the history of the Titanic alive. “What keeps the society going is the determination and dedication of the founders to continue the tradition year after year. We hope that long after we are gone, the words of ‘We shall never forget’ will live on for years to come,” says Silman.